It is that time of the year again in Switzerland when the Advent is approaching and the children are becoming excited about meeting Samiclaus (the Swiss version of Santa Claus) on St. Nicholas Day on 6 December. Unlike the Santa Claus in most other parts of the world, Samiclaus does not have the same breadth of resources nor financial liquidity, so his gift to children is usually a small hessian sack containing clementines, walnuts, peanuts, some gingerbread, and maybe a few pieces of (Swiss) chocolate. No prizes for guessing what gets eaten first!
Summer holidays usually mean catching up with my husband’s family in Brittany, France, and this year was no exception. We opted to take the train this summer, a long 12 hour journey but which gives us an excuse to stopover in Paris for a bit of family fun (and shopping for moi). This time around, we got to visit some new cafés and restaurants (see my updated list of where to eat and shop in Paris), as well as discovering new places to take the children.
As a Vietnamese, I could eat a bowl of pho at breakfast, lunch and dinner. There is something so nourishing about about a steaming bowl of slippery noodles, fragrant with fresh herbs and laced with spicy chillies for that much needed kick.
My latest contribution to Discovery, the in-flight magazine for Cathay Pacific, is currently out now on all Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon flights. This month’s foodie feature is the classic Vietnamese dish called bun cha, consisting of grilled pork meatballs served with an abundance of fresh herbs on a bed of vermicelli noodles. A Vietnamese dipping sauce, called nouc cham, is essential to this dish to dress the noodles and to add a salty and sour element – a flavour combination which is essential to many Vietnamese dishes. It’s a noodle salad which is bold, fresh and full of flavour.
I know all too well that planning meals ahead of time, doing the grocery shopping in bulk, and even cooking in advance, are the easiest paths to a stress-free suppertime, but being organised often takes time and time is a scarce commodity when there is a toddler and newborn in the equation. And so I often find myself at the supermarket without a clue as to what to cook for dinner, except that I am relieved to have arrived there with both kids still alive.
My husband and I recently welcomed our baby daughter into the world, a beautiful bundle of joy who loves to sleep but who is still mastering the art of how to do it well. Some days are better than others, and some nights are better than others. Despite the sleep deprivation that comes with a newborn, and not to mention the pre-existing sleep deprivation that comes with a sleep-walking toddler, my heart feels full and I am slowly adjusting to the chaos that is a family of four.